Chelsea owe improved performance to Frank Lampard’s formation change
Chelsea may have eventually lost to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final on Wednesday, but there were plenty of positives to take from the game. One change in particular contributed to the improved performance.
Against Manchester United in the first game of the Premier League season, Chelsea set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho played as part of the two, with Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Pedro ahead of them.
Defensively they struggled. They conceded four goals, of which two came on the counter-attack, and another because the Blues were trying to play a high line. The backline did not receive enough cover from the midfield, with Barkley, Mount and Pedro unable to recover enough when United attacked.
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Also, Jorginho’s offensive performance was below par, as he recorded a pass success rate of just 82.3% against a side that appeared happy to play without possession for large parts of the game. There was also little variety in his distribution, as he completed just one of the five long passes he attempted.
Midfield three better for Blues
The match against the Reds saw the return of N’Golo Kante to Frank Lampard’s starting line-up. In the end, the new boss chose to play a 4-3-3 formation, which is also how Liverpool set up. Kovacic and Jorginho kept their places, and the latter thrived.
Unshackled by the burden of extra defensive responsibility, the Italy international’s passing performance dramatically improved. He had an 86.8% pass success rate against Jurgen Clop’s side and completed 77% of his long-ball attempts. He managed one more shot, and also one more key pass.
Kante also looked good, as he was able to combine his famous defensive abilities with the new offensive qualities that he picked up under Maurizio Sarri, whilst Pedro also flourished as he was allowed to come inside more due to the lack of an attacking midfielder.
Overall, the Blues were far better with a three than a two in the centre of the park, as the result shows. Whilst Lampard may favour a 4-2-3-1, he should consider using this different formation moving forward.
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